News and notes from the rodeo trail
Linn Churchill may have celebrated his 44th birthday earlier this month, but don’t let it be said the Valentine, NE, steer wrestler isn’t competitive any more. A 3.7-second run in the first performance of the Black Hills Stock Show & Rodeo in Rapid City, SD, on Jan. 26 has him in the lead by 1.4 seconds and in contention to win his first PRCA rodeo since 2006 when he captured the Cheyenne Frontier Days title and three others on his way to finishing seventh in the world standings.
Wrangler NFR bareback rider Winn Ratliff received a certificate of appreciation from the Vernon Parish Police Jury on Jan. 22 for representing his hometown of Leesville, LA, and Vernon Parish in a positive way. Attendance at the Fort Worth (Texas) Stock Show on Jan. 26 was 138,300, the highest total for the second Saturday of the event in its 117-year history. That figure is the third-highest for any day, with only the third Saturdays of 2011 and 2012 surpassing it. The total attendance for the 2013 Stock Show stood at 370,400 through Jan. 26, 3,700 visitors ahead of last year’s record pace, when the event had total attendance of 1,166,000.
The Casey Tibbs Foundation will open its new sculpture garden on June 1 at the Casey Tibbs South Dakota Rodeo Center in Fort Pierre, SD, as a tribute to South Dakota’s many great saddle bronc riders. It will start with a Tony Chytka statue of Billy Etbauer scoring an 89 on Harry Vold’s great horse Painted Valley to win the 2009 Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days and two additional bronzes are planned, according to director Cindy Bahe.
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, have been chosen as the Grand Marshals for the 88th Tucson Rodeo Parade on Feb. 21 (www.tucsonrodeoparade.org).
Former PRCA steer wrestler, pickup man and rodeo judge Billy Joe Nicholas died in Hooper, UT, on Jan. 18. He was 75.
Before tons of dirt is hauled into the AT&T Center and the San Antonio Spurs haul luggage for their two-week Rodeo Road Trip, there first has to be the Cowboy Breakfast to kick off the $1 million San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. The 35th annual edition of the food fest was held Jan. 25 with nearly 55,000 people showing up at the Cowboys Dancehall parking lot for free egg tacos with biscuits and gravy.
After years with Rafter H Rodeo, the Will Rogers Stampede in Claremore, OK, is changing stock contractors this year and going with Carr Pro Rodeo of Dallas.
The Woodward (Okla.) Elks Rodeo Committee held its 13th annual dinner, auction and dance on Jan. 26 to raise money for community causes. The event began as a means to raise money for the family of Jim Washmon after he died of a heart attack and continues to help regional initiatives; it has raised more than $350,000.
The 10th annual Cowboy and Cowgirl Reunion was held Jan. 26 at the Holiday Inn Grand in Billings, MT, the major fundraiser for the Montana ProRodeo Hall and Wall of Fame. To date, the event has raised nearly $300,000 in college scholarship money for local high school seniors. F